Broccoli vs. Cabbage

A close look at a head of cabbage and a cluster of broccoli in a basket.

As children, we all probably despised broccoli and cabbage. Now that we’re older, though, health gurus and fitness fanatics all over the globe constantly remind us to include these superfoods in our diets.

Why should we eat these two vegetables, and is the one healthier than the other? Let’s have a closer look at broccoli versus cabbage:

Broccoli and cabbage have been bred from the same plant: Brassica Oleracea. Both are regarded as superfoods. Although broccoli is slightly higher in nutritional value, both vegetables contain various health benefits.

If you want a strong immune system, a healthy heart, and radiant skin, you should start introducing broccoli and cabbage to your diet. Here’s why:

Are Broccoli and Cabbage Related?

This is a close look at a Brassica Oleracea purple cabbage plant.

Broccoli and cabbage are related. Both were bred from the Brassica oleracea plant. The word oleracea means ‘vegetable/herbal .’ In its uncultivated form, this plant is called ‘wild cabbage.’

Researchers believe that the Brassica oleracea plant has been selectively bred into dozens of different varieties and cultivars for thousands of years. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all prime examples of this cultivating process.

Both broccoli and cabbage are regarded as superfoods; they are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They do, however, slightly differ when it comes to nutritional value.

Do Broccoli and Cabbage Have the Same Nutritional Value?

Although both are filled with goodness, broccoli contains more essential minerals and vitamins than cabbage. Here is a brief comparison of some of the proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals found in broccoli and cabbage:

Point of Comparison per 100gBroccoliCabbage
Sugar – Less sugar means a smaller chance of metabolic dysfunctions in the body.1.7g3.2g
Proteins – A diet without the right amount of protein is unbalanced and unhealthy.2.82g1.28g
Fructose – Fructose is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and too much of this type of sugar causes high blood pressure.0.68g1.45g
Magnesium – This mineral aids in bone development and helps with energy production.21mg12mg
Vitamin C – Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and prevents viral diseases.89.2mg36.6mg
Lysine – Lysine is a vital amino acid as it plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen.0.14g0.04g

As broccoli contains slightly less sugar and more minerals and vitamins, this leafy green vegetable comes out tops compared to cabbage. No wonder former President Barack Obama announced in 2013 that broccoli was his favorite food.

However, never cast away the humble cabbage, as this vegetable is equally low in saturated fat and cholesterol. There are a vast number of health benefits associated with both of these cruciferous vegetables.

What Are the Health Benefits of Broccoli and Cabbage?

This is the nutrition facts table of cabbage.

There are a vast number of potential health benefits linked to broccoli and cabbage. Let’s have a look at some of their health benefits:

They can prevent cancer

Broccoli and cabbage both contain a dietary compound called sulforaphane, and in a study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, this compound has specific cancer-fighting properties.

They can reduce bad cholesterol

These cruciferous vegetables contain substances called phytosterols, which have been proven to reduce high cholesterol levels.

They may be good for your heart

When broccoli and cabbage are cooked, their glucosinolates are broken down into biologically active compounds. These compounds play an integral role in breaking down cholesterol, calcium, and fat molecules.

Therefore, consuming these vegetables might help prevent the clogging of arteries, which is one of the leading causes of strokes and heart attacks.

They keep your eyes healthy

Broccoli and cabbage contain lutein, and a diet rich in lutein is likely to prevent cataracts from forming. Additionally, our bodies convert the beta-carotene in these vegetables into Vitamin A, an essential vitamin to proper and healthy eyesight.

They have anti-inflammatory benefits

According to Reuters Health, researchers conducted a study involving 1,000 Chinese women. They subsequently found that the women who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had less inflammation than those who ate less of these vegetables. The main reason is the presence of sulforaphane in these vegetables, and sulforaphane has high anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s clear that when people say, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ they might as well change it to, ‘cups of veggies each day keeps illness away.’

The U.S. Department of Agriculture dictates that the average adult female should eat a minimum of 2 cups of vegetables per day while the average male should consume 3 cups.

However, some people should carefully manage their daily intake of broccoli and cabbage; these vegetables can, under extreme circumstances, do more harm than good.

What Are the Health Risks of Broccoli and Cabbage?

This is the Nutrition facts table for broccoli.

The pros by far outweigh the cons when it comes to eating broccoli and cabbage. Nevertheless, there are a few health risks that everyone should be aware of:

  • Although not very common, some people are allergic to broccoli and cabbage because they contain salicylates.
  • The Vitamin K in these vegetables might interfere with some people’s use of anti-clotting drugs such as Warfarin. Vitamin K might counteract the blood-thinning effects of certain medicines.
  • People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome should eat broccoli and cabbage in moderation. Because of their high fiber content, these vegetables’ most common side effects are often gas and bowel irritation.

Conclusion

Broccoli and cabbage are closely related and share several nutritional and health benefits. I think we should all add a few cups of these delicious veggies to our daily diets. Eat them raw, steam them, cook them; it doesn’t matter as long as you do your part in embracing the Brassica oleracea family.

Resources:

Business Insider: Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts Vegetables All the Same Plant

Versus: Broccoli vs. Cabbage

Live Science: Broccoli Nutrition

Medical News Today: How does broccoli help prevent cancer? Study sheds light

Healthline: Purple Cabbage

Medical News Today: What Are Cruciferous Vegetables

Live Healthy: Broccoli Eyesight

Reuters: Eating cruciferous vegetables may lower inflammation

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